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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  March 18, 2011 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT

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>> smith: tonight, after theup orders moammar qaddafi to stop attacking libyan civilians, president obama delivers the "or else." >> the resolution will be enforced through military action. >> smith: i'm harry smith. also tonight, one week after japan's earthquake and tsunami a big break for the engineers trying to prevent a nuclear meltdown. and kids from around america and haiti, too, do what they can to help the people of japan. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> smith: good evening, katie is on assignment. president obama delivered a warning today to libyan dictator moammar qaddafi: stop
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slaughtering your people or face military action. the united states will help enforce a no-fly zone approved last night by the u.n. security council, but no american ground troops will be sent to libya. french and british warplanes could be in the air over libya by tomorrow. hours after the u.n. resolution passed, the qaddafi regime declared a cease-fire, but his forces reportedly kept shelling two cities-- misurata and ajdabiya. and there are also reports that qaddafi's forces are headed toward benghazi, the rebels' capital. david martin at the pentagon begins our coverage. david, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, harry. less than 24 hours after the u.n. security council passed that resolution authorizing air strikes against libya, president obama delivered an ultimatum to qaddafi. >> these terms are not subject to negotiation. if qaddafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences.
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and the resolution will be enforced through military action. >> reporter: the terms of the ultimatum are stark. >> a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. that means all attacks against civilians must stop. >> reporter: not only that, but qaddafi must order his troops to retreat from cities they have either taken or threatened to take from the rebels. >> qaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on benghazi, pull them back from ajdabiya, misurata, and zawiyah and establish water, electricity, and gas supplies to all areas. >> reporter: in other words, crede control of major cities and vital oil facilities to his enemies. and he doesn't have much time. u.s. and allied warships are stationed off the coast of libya ready to launch cruise missile that would take out qaddafi's command centers and air defense network. after that, aircraft-- mostly british and french operating from bases in the mediterranean-- would enforce a
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no-fly zone and threaten his ground forces with air strikes if they attack the rebels. the president promised no american troops would gol into libya while one way or another, said secretary of state clinton, qaddafi has to go. >> we do believe that a final result of any negotiations would have to be the decision by colonel qaddafi to leave. >> reporter: secretary clinton will be in paris tomorrow for one last round of talks with allies. but unless qaddafi orders first a cease-fire and then a retreat, the time for talking seems to be up. tonight there is no sign qaddafi's forces are observing a cease-fire much less pulling back. in fact, one u.s. official says they are still advancing on benghazi. harry? >> smith: david, what happens if these qaddafi forces keep moving toward benghazi? >> reporter: benghazi is what one pentagon official calls a red line. if qaddafi attacks it, that would trigger military action.
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>> smith: david martin at the pentagon. thanks. qaddafi has ruled libya since 1969, locking horns with eight u.s. presidents. one of his trademarks is to keep everyone guessing about his next move and he seems to be sticking to that strategy. mark phillips is in tripoli tonight. mark? good evening. >> reporter: harry, it's been vintage qaddafi. it's been confounding, it's been confusing and it's been confrontational and for a while today it seemed that qaddafi was setting the agenda in this conflict again. his army was poised far final he said conclusive assault against the rebels in benghazi. he had gone on t.v. calling the u.n. action madness. "if the world went crazy, qlab would go crazy too" he threatened. buten this his foreign minister strode into a room to deliver a great diplomatic head fake. libya, too, wanted to protect its citizens, he said, so its
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army would stop shooting them. >> therefore, libya has decided an immediate cease-fire and the stoppage of all military operations. >> reporter: having already celebrated victory at least three times in the past ten days, the qaddafi faithful were now cheering the declared end of hostilities. >> we all love our leader qaddafi! >> reporter: what is this is really about is moammar qaddafi's survival. his army is now in the cross hairs of the u.n. resolution's enforcers but he has pro served it so far and it's still the only serious fighting force in libya. the rebels holding out in the town of misurata say they were shelled even as the cease-fire was being announced. but what moammar qaddafi does with his army now will determine whether he gets to keep it and his job.
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and the libyans have now invited international observers into the country, they say to verify that they're holding to their cease-fire and also, importantly to help draw where that cease-fire line will be. harry? >> smith: mark phillips in tripoli tonight. thanks. for weeks, libyan rebels in benghazi have been begging nato for help. as mandy clark reports, they're grateful it may finally be coming. >> reporter: demonstrating is now a family affair in benghazi. "libya free, libya free" this mother says. >> the libyans are happy. we don't know what will happen next, but at least somebody supports us. >> reporter: but the fear here is that the support will not come soon enough. this is a celebration of the no-fly zone rather than the libyan government's announcement of a cease-fire. the pro zestors say they feel like the international community
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will finally protect them. and now they feel free to speak their mind and openly mock moammar qaddafi with chants. they also took time to remember those who died in the fighting. a heavy toll to get their voices heard. and they know the battle is far from over. so you'll keep going to tripoli? >> yes, yes. we want to free tripoli. >> reporter: in the city's main square, at least, this was about celebrating what they have achieved so far. but elsewhere, preparations were under way for what might come. there are reports that rebel forces once again came under attack, this time just 20 miles outside of benghazi. harry? >> smith: mandy, was that attack before or after the cease-fire was declared? >> reporter: well, it's believed that attack happened after the cease-fire. now, rebels say they didn't put much credence in the cease-fire because it came from the government that has put them
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under siege for weeks. their hopes for protection really remain the u.n. >> smith: mandy clark in benghazi, thanks. now tonight's other top story, the disaster in japan. officials there admitted today for the first time they were not as prepared as they should have been. one week after the earthquake and tsunami damaged a number of nuclear reactors, workers are still struggling to get them under control and prevent a meltdown. but bill whitaker reports there is finally some good news. >> reporter: as millions of japanese silently mark the first week since the nation's worst crisis since world war ii, officials were finally able to connect the power cable needed to restart the reactor systems. nevertheless japan's prime minister was unusually blunt. >> we are still at a critical state with the situation at the nuclear plant. firemen, police, and many others are currently making a desperate
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effort on all fronts. >> reporter: for a second day, fire trucks doused fukushima's react wor 12,000 gallons of water to cool the fuel rods sitting in storage pools if left exposed those fuel rods and others in reactor four could melt and spew deadly radiation into the atmosphere. >> ( translated ): as for reactor number four, the situation is not as serious as reactors number two and three. but we need to keep adding water to cool them and be prepared. >> reporter: but there is growing evidence that reactor four does pose a significant threat. photos taken by u.s. drones indicate water levels in the reactor four storage pool keep dropping, perhaps because of an unseen hole or crack suffered in last friday's earthquake. this could release more raid rao activity than at any point in the crisis. the mounting problems prompted japan to raise the severity rating of the disaster from level four to level five on the
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seven-point international scale, putting it on par with the 1979 u.s. accident at three mile island. it was terrifying news for this russian attorney living in japan who remembers the chernobyl disaster was a level seven. >> ( translated ): it seems to all us russians that the accident at fukushima is quite similar to what happened in chernobyl, therefore we're afraid and we're all running home. >> reporter: japanese who live near the plant were moved to shelters outside the exclusion zone and scanned for radiation. "are you worried" this woman was asked? >> ( translated ): that's why i'm here. it is frightening. i look at my children and worry. >> reporter: what little good news there was came from the u.n.'s international atomic energy chief who said radiation levels in tokyo-- 140 miles from the plant-- are not considered dangerous. at least not now. >> at certain moments, at certain sites the nuclear
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radioactivity was dangerous, harmful for human health. in other cities like in tokyo, it's not the case. >> reporter: the threat level is low, but the anxiety level is here in tokyo... is high here in tokyo, especially since winds now blowing the low-level radiation out to sea are about to shift and start blowing south toward tokyo tomorrow. harry? >> smith: bill, what difference is it going to make getting that pow interthat nuclear reactor site? >> reporter: well, the hope is that if they can start the electricity, they can restart those cooling pumps. but they won't know until they slip the switch whether those pumps are still working or were put out of commission by the earthquake and tsunami. harry? >> smith: bill whitaker in tokyo tonight. thanks. the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami continues to rise. the official count tonight is nearly 7,000. more than 2,600 are injured and more than
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10,000 are missing. meanwhile, britain's "guardian" newspaper reports 128 elderly people were discovered abandoned in a hospital six miles from the crippled nuclear plant. some were comatose and later 14 days. there are tens of thousands of americans in japan. lucy craft reports the u.s. government is offering to evacuate any of them who want to leave. >> reporter: the first flight from tokyo arrived in taiwan with fewer than 100 americans. sean kaiden left. not because of radiation fears, but because daily life has become too challenging. >> we had power outages for two days where i was, trains weren't running for three days. we had cell phones that were down. >> reporter: charter busses have also started picking up stranded americans in the northern japanese city of sendai. >> the bus will stay outside of the u.s. required 80 kilometer radius of the fukushima nuclear power plant. >> reporter: since u.s. law
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requires all voluntary evacuees pay their own way, passengers had to sign i.o.u.s to the government before being allowed to board. >> my mother wants me to leave and my girlfriend wants me to leave because of fukushima. >> reporter: while many americans are starting to make their way out of japan, there's growing concern about americans still missing, leaving a lot of anxious families back in the states. it's been a rough week for the families of jessica besecker and ed clemens, two of four teachers on a government-run exchange program in northern japan. they hadn't been heard from until today. >> my wife received a phone call this morning and it was him. so after she finished screaming and yelling and we finished praying, she told me that it was him and he was okay. she was so happy and ecstatic about it, as wives are. >> reporter: but their two friends, including taylor anderson, are among the more than 10,000 people still unaccounted for. lucy craft, cbs news, tokyo.
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>> reporter: as the damaged nuclear reactors continue to leak radiation, the associated press reports u.n. monitors have detected minuscule-- that is minuscule-- amounts of radioactive particles on america's west coast. the a.p. says the particles are believed to have come from japan but its source says the level of radiation is far too low to be a threat to health. coming up next on on the "cbs evening news," lesson for japan and for the world from the radioactive ruins of chernobyl. osteoporosis treatment-- no big deal. so i have to wait up to an hour just to eat or drink. i've got time to kill. yeah right! i'm a working woman. and i'm busy. why should osteoporosis therapy disrupt my morning routine? with new atelvia there's no wait. unlike other osteoporosis medicines...
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when we went there three years ago. right now the dose rate is something like 200 times over what we have in washington, d.c. >> reporter: experts say that's about the same as 16 chest x-rays in one day and the effect is cumulative. a more permanent solution to entomb the chernobyl reactor has been planned for years. a massive steel dome taller than the statue of liberty and wider than the st. louis gateway arch to be built at a distance because of the radiation will be rolled into place section by section over the still deadly reactor. but the dome hasn't yet begun to take shape. the u.s. and the european union are still struggling to raise the $2 billion it will cost. in japan, the fukushima complex will also have to be entombed and the radiation levels will make that very difficult. >> these reactors are never going to be used again. they're going to have to be
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entombed for a significant length of time before anything's able to be done about them. >> reporter: and ja n japan, officials are dealing not with just one rogue reactor but six of them. >> i would hope that we'd be able to clean those up with less difficulty than we faced with the one reactor at chernobyl, but i don't know with the twists and turns of this thing, i don't know that that's a guarantee. >> reporter: that still-unfinished containment dome at chair snobl projected to last just one hundred years, but chernobyl, like the japanese plant at fukushima, will remain radioactive and deadly for thousands of years. bill plante, cbs news, washington. or a heart attack known as acs, ated chest pain you may not want to face the fact that you're at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke. plavix helps protect people with acs against heart attack or stroke: people like you. it's one of the most researched prescription medicines. goes beyond what they do alone by helping to keep blood platelets from sticking
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>> smith: the pro-democracy movement in the middle east was dealt some stiff blows today in yemen. a key u.s. ally in the war against al qaeda. government supporters opened fire this afternoon from roof tops into crowds of demonstrators below and are demanding the president step down there. at least 40 people were killed. in bahrain, the majority shiites have been protesting against the sunni monarchy. though protests always take place in pearl square. well, today, the 300-foot pearl monument in the middle of the square was torn down on orders from the government. in libya today, the qaddafi government said it will release four journalists from the "new york times" captured during the fighting this week. they're reported to be unharmed and in good health. in wisconsin, a judge today
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issued a temporary restraining order which, for the time being, blocks the new state law that strips most public employees of the right to collectively bargain for pensions and health care benefits. opponents are challenging a procedural move. the republican-control state senate used it to pass the law while democrats were boycotting the session. and remember the old song "when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that's amore"? well, tomorrow night, look up. not only will the moon be full, it will be as close as it's come to the earth in nearly 20 years, making it look 14% bigger than usual and 30% brighter. that's amore. coming up next, kids helping people in need. delicious news for dessert lovers. introducing activia dessert. rich yogurt with desserty flavors like strawberry cheesecake and peach cobbler. mmm. you've got to try this. ♪ activia activia dessert.
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from our bones. caltrate helps put it back. with 1200 mg of calcium and 800 iu of vitamin d. women need caltrate. caltrate helps women keep moving because women move the world. >> smith: finally tonight, when you see how the japanese people are suffering in the wake of a natural disaster, the reaction is to want to help. that's exactly what some kids are doing as mark strassmann reports. >> thank you so much! >> reporter: when tsunami relief on their minds, kids in dallas squeezed the aid from lemons. a lemonade fund-raiser for japan. in an hour they raised more than $1,000. >> people all wonder why we're doing this right now.
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>> reporter: in atlanta... >> it really makes me want to help those people. >> reporter: kindergartener tuesday muse saw the destruction on television. like kids all over, she's trying to make sense of the unthinkable. >> i was, like, how can i help? could i do a sale or something like that? i'm a good artist. >> reporter: first her mom helped tuesday sell all her old art work-- some to neighbors, the rest on ebay. so far she's raised more than $2,500. then she helped recruit 40 of her friends to paint. >> this dude's somewhere in new york state. he said if somebody would paint him a picture he would give one thousand dollars for the tsunami relief. hi, sophia. >> reporter: so they all got to work. for kids everywhere, tuesday's mother says japan's calamity hits home. >> they're better able to put themselves in other people's shoes than adults are. but they see another kid's house
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be destroyed and that's their little castle and they do think about that and they can empathize. >> reporter: some of them with wounds still healing. from haiti, joseph and jeffrey look at japan and see themselves. they're 14-year-olds still living in tents after last year's earthquake here. >> reporter: in their despair, they linked to japan with plastic scraps head into bracelets. $10 apiece, $200 so far. moved, like all these kids, to send hope in whatever way they can. mark strassmann, cbs news, atlanta. >> smith: if you would like to help the people of japan, go to and we will link you up to relief agencies. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. katie will be back on monday. i'm harry smith in new york. thank you for joining us. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
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